Happy Thursday to you and yours. Hope you’re doing well and that your family is safe and loved. Hug them tightly if you can.
The Arsenal news is remaining thin on the ground but we’re getting dribs and drabs at the moment. David Ornstein has been talking on the Athletic podcast and in print (well, online print) about how the Arsenal players are raring to go, all looking fit and there is a positivity about the group. That’s really good. It really warms the cockles of my heart. If only we weren’t playing City away for that first game back for the restart. I know it was technically the next game we were supposed to play anyway and even that was a rescheduled match as a result of the League Cup final City played against Villa, but I just wish there’d have been some reason why we couldn’t play that game straight away.
Our matches after that are Brighton away, Southampton away and then Norwich at home. Imagine if we could have played those three and even got three wins, before then playing City? I’d have even been more buoyant about our chances of rising up through the table as a result. But that City game looms large in less than two weeks and with all the positivity in the squad at the moment, it would be a real shame if we go up to Manchester, get our usual shellacking, which then means yet more work Arteta has to do to pick up the lads. I know I might sound a little bit negative but we have to be realistic – home or away and with no fans or some fans – they are a better team than us and in the last four or five matches they’ve beaten us without much of a canter.
I guess that’s going to be a good marker that we need to look for: have we given them a decent game and made them sweat. I know that sounds a bit ‘small club fan’ mentality, but at this stage and with the season feeling pretty meaningless, what we need to look for is signs that Tricky Micky is starting to get a tune out of his squad. That doesn’t always mean we have to smash teams. Sometimes we can just show that we are able to give them a decent game, especially when they are clearly a level above our players.
I mean I still think playing at all is a bit of a nonsense and yesterday the Tiny Totts confirmed that they have had somebody test positive for Covid-19. So that person is now self-isolating for seven days. Right, so we’ve already got potentially a player (although it might be a member of the coaching team) who has contracted the virus, but do we know if that person has been in contact with any other members of Tottenham’s team and have they caught the spread early enough? I wonder how Man United will feel about his now, given that they were next on the list to play Tottenham?
This is all rather farcical and I know there has been regular testing, but this whole process of putting these games on feels like it’s rather pointless. Of course I’m going to say that because my team aren’t really fighting for much, but it does feel as though this idea that the Premier League is going to be in any way some kind of competition is laughable. Imagine if that positive test is Harry Kane? How can he now come back and be fit enough for the start of the restart? He’s one of their best players and they are potentially therefore hamstrung by this virus. People say it’s like getting an injury but you don’t catch injuries off other players.
Or what about players who are uncomfortable now playing knowing that their own lives could be at risk? Or those players who haven’t agreed an extension like Jan Vertonghen. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for the Tiny Totts to have as many disadvantages as possible, but I start to think about how we could be in this situation and suddenly it makes me realise what a mockery of a competition the league now is.
One final piece from me before I leave you for another day, which is around a piece I saw on Sky Sports about how Jamie Carragher is talking about keeping Aubameyang next season and letting him go for free. In the normal world where you would have big clubs willing to part a decent chunk of change on him this summer I’d probably say that Carragher is bonkers, but given that nobody has any money to spend, unless we can do some kind of mega trade like I mentioned a couple of week’s back with the likes of somebody like Demebele from Barca, then perhaps we just have to accept that he can walk for free and we look to keep him next season. If he stays fit – which he’s managed to do so far in his Arsenal career – that’s 25 to 30 goals Arteta can bank next season and if the boss can get a tune out of his defence and the players on side, we’re a better team than we’ve shown this season. I would be a lot more confident about top four knowing that we’ve got 30 goals in the tank and as each passing day goes by I am thinking that unless somebody offers an unlikely trade, maybe we just keep him. I do agree with Neville though in the same piece; quite why somebody at Arsenal thought a three-and-a-half year deal was a good idea when we signed him from Dortmund, is beyond me. But we’ve made these mistakes with player contracts again and again and clearly when Raul came in and said that wasn’t going to happen any more, he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and hasn’t been able to deliver on that promise that players don’t leave for free. Heck, he’s already had that happen with Ramsey under his watch.
Anyway, that’s enough rambling from me, so I bid thee a good day and I’ll be back tomorrow with some more nonsense about The Arsenal no doubt.